MUCH instructive research has of late years been devoted to the history and inevitable results of paper inflation. The French assignats, our own continental money, colonial overissues, and the practically irredeemable currency of the banks of some of the States prior to the civil war have furnished subjects for elaborate discussion and have yielded their appropriate warnings; but I am not aware that the most remarkable and significant of all attempts to create and sustain fiat money has ever received the attention which is its due.
DURING the middle ages, while “the noble sport” of falconry was in vogue, hawks, and to a certain extent all kindred birds of prey, were respected, revered—almost worshiped—contemporary naturalists, and even their successors for many centuries, placing them at the head of their order, much as man is ranked as the head of all mammals.
“DEAL” AND PERSONAL TAXES.—Direct taxes are also spoken of, and in fact, classified as real and personal taxes. “Real” taxes (Latin res, thing), or taxes on realty, as is the general expression, are taxes on property—generally on things naturally characterized by immobility—without reference to the pecuniary condition of the owner, and hence without taking his debts into account.
THE Basques, or Euskaldunak, as they call themselves, on account of the primitive character of their institutions, but more particularly because of the archaic features of their language, have long attracted the attention of ethnologists.
LEAVING out of view the commercial enterprises of the ancient inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula and the voyages of the primitive Celtic people of Britain, the earliest explorer of the north was a younger contemporary of Alexander the Great, Pytheas of Marsilia, who braved the perils of that region, impelled by purely scientific motives.
PEOPLE in general are but little impressed by the many forms of life, be they plant or animal, with which they daily come in contact. A tree of unusual size, or a flower of exceptional form or color, attracts our attention. It is the unusual in Nature which always catches the eye.
WHEN we landed at Point Barrow, in 1881, it seemed as if every Eskimo hunter had a pretty good rifle. There is a law against selling breech-loading arms and ammunition to “Indians,” but it was no better enforced in Alaska than it was in old times on the plains, when the Sioux used to butcher our soldiers with rifles and cartridges made in the Eastern States.
THE results of late researches in physiological and experimental psychology contribute much toward a rational explanation of the causes of abnormal and deficient mental characteristics in childhood. To begin with, it is now satisfactorily shown that mental action is accompanied by the expenditure of energy derived from the breaking down of highly unstable chemical compounds in cerebral nerve cells.
WE hear much talk nowadays about the new chemistry, the new psychology, the new theology, even the new woman. It is not my purpose to present in this paper any remarks which could be styled “the new botany,” for I hope that there is no new botany.
BASIL-VALENTINE, a famous alchemist of the middle ages, was the most noted exponent of the belief in the transmutation of metals. He thought that the germ of the precious metal gold was hidden in the base metal antimony, and claimed that by following certain mystic formulas the gold could be recovered.
IN 1880 I had the honor of lecturing before the Class of Science on the metamorphoses undergone by a drop of water, when I described the several phases of the grand cycle which the drop passes through from the moment it forms part of the great ocean mass till the time when after long journeys and numerous transformations it again joins its companions in the sea.
SPOTS or groups of spots were seen more or less distinctly upon the sun previous to the invention of the telescope. The observations are described under various forms, first among which may be mentioned obfuscations or obscurations of the sun.
DAREMBERG says, in his Histoire des Sciences médicales, that the custom of consultations among doctors was extended in the thirteenth century; but it is probable that the usage existed in previous stages of civilization. There have always been grave maladies and hard diagnoses and cases involving considerable responsibilities, for which a meeting of doctors was desirable; and there have always been patients in considerable social station who liked to be taken care of by several doctors at once.
IN Freehold, N. J., and almost upon the historic ground of the battle of Monmouth Courthouse, in an inviting home built to his liking, lived until January 9, 1894, the Rev. Samuel Lockwood, Ph. D., widely known as a general naturalist, and a shrewd observer and describer of the habits of animals.
Editor Popular Science Monthly: IN the July number of the Monthly, under the head of A New Social Problem, you discuss the department store. I was interested in your application of the fundamental laws of evolution to its development. From an evolutionist whose views do not fully accord with your own will you permit a query or two?
IF the right of women to vote in political elections depended on a demonstration of their ability to think clearly and conduct an argument in an orderly manner, the book which Mrs. Helen Kendrick Johnson has published under the title of Woman and the Republic (Appletons) would settle the question.
THE author of Bird-life * will not be offended if we begin our description of his book by a mention of the illustrations, for he has himself expressed his high appreciation of Mr. Thompson’s remarkably spirited and accurate portraits. There are seventy-five full-page plates representing birds described in the text, with natural surroundings and in characteristic poses.
No attempt to solve fundamental questions is indulged by the author of this book.* His efforts are devoted to exposing the fallacies of those who become ingulfed in biological theory. He examines their methods critically, and generally disapproves of them.
Agricultural Experiment Stations. Bulletins and Reports. Connecticut: Tests of Plant Food. Pp. 11.—Iowa: Stomach Worms affecting Sheep. Pp. 4.—New York : Sample Road Building. Pp. 2.—North Dakota: Climate and Crop Service.
Ups and Downs of the Tussock Moth.— After the English sparrows had quite exterminated the voracious measuring worms that used to make our city trees naked, the uneatable tussock moths took advantage of the opportunity and filled the trees for a few years with their uneatable larvæ.
IT is reported that an important advance in color photography has been made by M. Villedieu Chassagne and Dr. Adrien Michel Dausac. The process is simple and inexpensive. A negative is taken on a gelatin plate, which has been treated with a solution of certain salts (the nature of the solution is kept secret).
SOME funeral jars found in Arkansas exhibit representations of the human face which contrast greatly with the crude figures usually characteristic of Indian and even of American art, they being accurate in anatomy and physiognomy. From a study of them Mr. F. S. Dellenbaugh concludes that they can be accounted for without supposing some exotic or wonderful native artist, by regarding them as death-masks made by taking a mold of the face and transferring it to the jar.